Ghost Ship (2002)
Main cast: Gabriel Byrne (Capt Sean Murphy), Julianna Margulies (Maureen Epps), Ron Eldard (Dodge), Desmond Harrington (Jack Ferriman), Isaiah Washington (Greer), Alex Dimitriades (Santos), Karl Urban (Munder), and Emily Browning (Katie Hargrove)
Director: Steve Beck

There are only two memorable scenes in Ghost Ship - the gore-drenched and shocking opening death scene and the last fifteen minutes of the movie. Everything in between is strictly standard and uninteresting shock schlock moments, notable only in that this may be the rare horror movie in today's PC-drenched environment that doesn't hesitate to off its non-White characters cheerfully. Usually there's the sole Black guy survivor along with the usual heroine in movies like this one, but this time, one can't use the race card to predict who will die and who won't.

The story is simple. Capt Sean Murphy commands a salvage crew that include our ex-ER lady Julianna Margulies playing Maureen Epps, the Ripley of the gang. An earnest Canadian Air Force weather spotter Jack Ferriman approaches them one day with sightings of a long-lost "ghost ship", Antonia Graza. The ship vanishes without a trace in 1962 - we audience see the grisly fate of the crew members in the opening scene - and it seems to have reappeared once more. So how is it, guys? Should they go salvage what they can find, finder's law and all that.

Of course, nothing is what it seems with the ship, as our crew soon learn. The ghost of a young girl, Katie Hargrove, bonds with Maureen, and soon everyone is either dying or trying to get out of the ship. Trouble is, the ship won't let them.

The usual things happen here - people die (the ones with the least screentime dies first) and our heroine kicks ass. The crew is basically a collection of tried and true stereotypes. But where the characters fail to stick to my mind, I like the atmosphere of the sad old ballrooms and the the twisted and very gory plot twist towards the end of the movie. I do think, though, the villain could have been a little more threatening that (s)he is in the movie.

Ghost Ship is entertaining, if unmemorable apart from the two scenes I have mentioned. It's not bad for some fun time at the movies, but I'd suggest getting Below for a better scary maritime movie.

Rating: 83

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